Author Topic: Are single wall tents warmer in winter?  (Read 5169 times)

mechanicalchris

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Are single wall tents warmer in winter?
« on: November 15, 2011, 11:24:12 AM »
I understand that tents are not a heated structure but I recently read some reviews talking about how warm a single-walled 4 season tent was. My girlfriend and I sleep in a Fly Creek UL2 which is a great ultra-light 3 season tent however, in the winter there's very little difference between the temperature inside and outside the tent so essentially the tents only purpose is to block the wind. If it's 10 degrees outside, then its 10 degrees in the tent Is this the same story with a single-wall winter tent, or do they get warm from the body heat? Sure would be nice to be in a 30 degree environment when its 0 degrees out.

Offline old_school

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Re: Are single wall tents warmer in winter?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2011, 11:33:15 AM »
after alpine climbing and mountaineering for many years, I have found that the only real advantage to single wall tents are the weight and ease of pitching in inclimate weather or at altitude. Condensation in the single wall tents has always been an issue and while some claim to have solved the problem with better ventillation (and some are close), a good bombproof double wall tent like the Trango 2 is a great winter tent. I have felt no warmer perse in a single versus a double, but having to sleep in your partners face due to lack of space may up the temp a few degrees (better be good friends)! It is hard to beat the simplicity of some of these new single walled shelters and they are now coming in at around 4lbs which is a big deal on those long approaches or multi day hikes. Not sure that answers your question, but I think heat gain is minimal with a single wall...
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mechanicalchris

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Re: Are single wall tents warmer in winter?
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2011, 11:54:53 AM »
So the trango looks cool. Do you ever camp above treeline? Is it fun or just stupid if you dont have to? I was thinking of climbing Monroe this weekend. I always thought it would be fun to camp on the summit of a Presidential. 10lbs is 5x heavier than my fly creek, do you just suck it up? Also, Ive been reading the alpine journal and I guess a lot of people dont climb with a tent. Interesting how it seems like there always needs to be a trade off. Would be awesome when the day comes that we can do a technical climb with a full tent, 0 degree bag, in something the size of a school bag.

Offline MT

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Re: Are single wall tents warmer in winter?
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2011, 12:39:49 PM »
Would recommend against camping above treeline unless you're in a really sheltered area. Not even sure it's kosher in the WMNF?

A negative about the ultralight tents is their durability. I once had part of a friend's ultralight tent freeze into the snow/rocks and it was a PITA to extricate. Said extrication caused some minor damage, although it was already a pretty old tent.

If you're just out puttering around the mts in ME, NH, VT, NY, etc, weight probably isn't that much of an issue. An extra few pounds in the pack is great training ;)

mechanicalchris

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Re: Are single wall tents warmer in winter?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2011, 12:45:18 PM »
Yeah, I still need to take a look at the AMC book. I forgot the rule about camping up top... its only a certain time of year and there needs to be a few feet of snow. Just formulating =)

Good idea on the training.

JakeDatc

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Re: Are single wall tents warmer in winter?
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2011, 12:58:38 PM »
I believe it says you need 2'  of snow before you can camp above treeline.   can't find it in the amc guide at the moment though. 

strandman

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Re: Are single wall tents warmer in winter?
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2011, 07:22:45 PM »
You want a real tent ?  Jack Stepheson/warmlite    you have to take care of them , but there is no better winter tent

mechanicalchris

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Re: Are single wall tents warmer in winter?
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2011, 07:47:04 PM »
You want a real tent ?  Jack Stepheson/warmlite    you have to take care of them , but there is no better winter tent

Better than Hillberg? I see some design similarities.

DLottmann

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Re: Are single wall tents warmer in winter?
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2011, 07:49:16 PM »
Plenty of places above treeline that are sheltered and are great camping spots on 2 feet of snow (legal)

Single wall tents “feel” warmer because they typically breathe less than a double wall tent, which creates a higher humidity. They perform best at high-altitude due to pressure differentials.

Offline ELM

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Re: Are single wall tents warmer in winter?
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2011, 08:16:06 PM »
Double walled tents may seem warmer but they are SUPER heavy if you are a single climber/hiker. Around here a bivy sac and good sleeping bag is the way to go if you're alone. I have also done a MH tent in the "pitch lite" option (basically a fly/poles and footprint) if I really thought snow would be in the forcast.
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Offline neiceclimber

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Re: Are single wall tents warmer in winter?
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2011, 11:43:26 AM »
Here's my take on tents:

Single walls: Expensive, light, and pack down small. Lots of moisture can build up and it gets annoying if every morning when you move around you find yourself creating snow globe conditions in your tent. I've also never used a single wall that can accommodate two six foot adults without having the door wide open. They are useful, for things like single pushes, sleeping on cramped shelfs, and their weight. Recently we've been carrying onesingle and one bivy, if we find a spot big enough you put up the single, if not you pull out the bivy and one person uses the single as a bivy bag (still lighter than a 4 season tent).

4 seasons: Are nice, but heavy. I have a BD that isn't all that heavy and breathes well. It does require a larger perch than a single but it's still smaller than a lot of other fours. Still with a four you have to keep the zipper down and the vents open to control moisture. Fours are warmer.

3 season: this is my go to tent for the Northeast. Cheaper, lighter, and breathes the best. the only down part most do not have the pole strengths of 4's and they have less tie ins.

Tents are meant to get you safely out of the elements, they are not really warming shelters. If you seek warmth then dig a snow cave. 

Offline old_school

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Re: Are single wall tents warmer in winter?
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2011, 01:40:53 PM »
Here's my take on tents:

Single walls: Expensive, light, and pack down small. Lots of moisture can build up and it gets annoying if every morning when you move around you find yourself creating snow globe conditions in your tent. I've also never used a single wall that can accommodate two six foot adults without having the door wide open. They are useful, for things like single pushes, sleeping on cramped shelfs, and their weight. Recently we've been carrying onesingle and one bivy, if we find a spot big enough you put up the single, if not you pull out the bivy and one person uses the single as a bivy bag (still lighter than a 4 season tent).

4 seasons: Are nice, but heavy. I have a BD that isn't all that heavy and breathes well. It does require a larger perch than a single but it's still smaller than a lot of other fours. Still with a four you have to keep the zipper down and the vents open to control moisture. Fours are warmer.

3 season: this is my go to tent for the Northeast. Cheaper, lighter, and breathes the best. the only down part most do not have the pole strengths of 4's and they have less tie ins.

Tents are meant to get you safely out of the elements, they are not really warming shelters. If you seek warmth then dig a snow cave. 


Yep, pretty much!


"Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes."